Sunday, April 15, 2012

Margins of Error

I'm always impressed with the engineering associated with ATMs. Think about it - they have some of the smallest margins of error of just about anything outside of the aerospace/submarine/firearms industry. Made a mistake counting? Either you're spewing out money, or short-changing people and pissing off customers. (I'm guessing the former keeps bank managers up at night more than the latter does). Sure, the process is simple, but they get the number of bills right an astonishing amount of the time. I'm no engineer, so it's all just black magic to me.

But I do notice that the reliability is good enough that most of the time I don't even bother counting the money that comes out. Think about that - you're putting your faith in both the honesty and crazy technical competency of the bank. That's a crazy level of trust, but then again first world societies often have levels of trust that seem amazing when you think about them.

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